Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Salzkammergut - Part I

Ever since I had seen the images of Salzkammergut region, it was always on my mind to be here someday. The countrysides lured me with its pristine landscapes and views straight from a postcard. Salzkammergut, is the region that stretches from Salzburg to Upper Austria, surrounded by Salzkammergut mountains(part of the Alps), dense green alpine forests,glacial lakes,rolling green meadows, and dotted with very typical pretty cottages. However, Salz means Salt and Salzkammergut means "Estate of Salt Chamber". In earlier days this used to be a prosperous zone thriving on Salt mines. It was such an important and valuable commodity in those days, Salt was known as White Gold.

My original plan was to cover St.Gilgen & St.Wolfgang on Day 3 but due to weather conditions I had to swap my itinerary between Day 2 and 3. Weighing the pros n cons and so that I don't lose more time, decided to join a tour group and informed the hotel which they coordinated. Started around 2 pm with Panaroma Tours and the tour was for 4.5-5 hours (with travel - yes very little time !). The tour guide gave us a lot of information about the region during the drive (The pros).

We drove amidst lush green valleys,by the lake sides with turqouise water and  Limestone Alps and came to a view point where we were given 5 minutes to absorb all that was in front of us (300 seconds ?? The cons)..seriously I mean you have 300 seconds to absorb the sights...compose the frame..recompose..hold to the moment ..and not to forget the digital vices..Huh! Anyways he generously added a couple of more minutes. That was the first view of  St.Wolfgangsee ( See in German means lake) . 

The lake has settlements around it and the most popular ones are St.Wolfgang, St.Gilgen ,Strobl and few more.

Another few minutes drive and we reached St.Gilgen from where we would board the Ferry/Boat for a 45 minutes ride and finally reach St.Wolfgang village. 

Below are few images taken from the boat.

St.Gilgen is a very charming village but unfortunately could not explore it due to the fixed plan I was bound to (cons!).


Leaving St.Gilgen behind

Approaching St.Wolfgang
On reaching St.Wolfgang we were briefed about the town's history and some know-how . We could then wander on our own but within a limited time frame (cons !!)

The frescoes and windows ...The oh-so old world charm !

We hurriedly completed our "timed"  self-tour of the town and gathered back at the square as was instructed. The journey back took us through the same scenery with more grey skies and a spell of shower. 
Though this was'nt exactly how I had planned this day trip, but that is travel - the uncertainties can drop by anytime. But, with the turqouise lakes, a scenery to behold and the old world setups every moment was beautiful  .

I was based out of Salzburg and this region can be easily covered on day trips . There are numerous lakes and villages and it's not possible to cover all in a short duration but you can choose a few. You can also divide your stay between Salzburg and any of the scenic towns in salzkammergut. 

How to reach :

Option a) 
Bus - Easy & Convenient- There are regular buses at frequent intervals starting from Salzburg Main station(ie Bus 150). The last drop location is Bad Ischl and there are numerous lakes and towns in between. you can actually hop-off/hop-on on the route and decide on covering the places of your interest. But very important- you must know the bus timings/schedule and the last bus going back so you can plan accordingly. The time table is usually displayed at every point ( frequency on weekends may vary).

Option b) 
Take a Group Tour like Panorama Tours Or any other.

Option c) 
Train- Takes longer/ Requires Change - in short complicated option.

Option d) 
Drive down